Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder Reminds Fans He’s Still Pro-Peace
Vedder made headlines recently when he set aside a few moments during a Pearl Jam concert to rail against the horrors of armed conflict, criticizing national leaders who go “looking for a reason to go across borders and take over land that doesn’t belong to them” and arguing, “They should get the f— out and mind their own f—ing business.” Although some have interpreted his remarks to be a veiled attack on the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict, a July 16 post at Pearl Jam’s official site makes it clear that Vedder hates war, period.
“Most of us have heard John Lennon sing ‘You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one,’” begins the note, titled ‘Imagine That — I’m Still Anti-War.’ Vedder continues:
And some of us, after another morning dose of news coverage full of death and destruction, feel the need to reach out to others to see if we are not alone in our outrage. With about a dozen assorted ongoing conflicts in the news everyday, and with the stories becoming more horrific, the level of sadness becomes unbearable. And what becomes of our planet when that sadness becomes apathy? Because we feel helpless. And we turn our heads and turn the page.
Currently, I’m full of hope. That hope springs from the multitudes of people that our band has been fortunate enough to play for night after night here in Europe. To see flags of so many different nations, and to have these huge crowds gathered peacefully and joyfully is the exact inspiration behind the words I felt the need to emphatically relay. When attempting to make a plea for more peace in the world at a rock concert, we are reflecting the feelings of all those we have come in contact with so we may all have a better understanding of each other.
That’s not something I’m going to stop anytime soon. Call me naive. I’d rather be naive, heartfelt and hopeful than resigned to say nothing for fear of misinterpretation and retribution.
The majority of humans on this planet are more consumed by the pursuit of love, health, family, food and shelter than any kind of war.
War hurts. It hurts no matter which sides the bombs are falling on.
With all the global achievements in modern technology, enhanced communication and information devices, cracking the human genome, land rovers on Mars etc., do we really have to resign ourselves to the devastating reality that conflict will be resolved with bombs, murder and acts of barbarism?
We are such a remarkable species. Capable of creating beauty. Capable of awe-inspiring advancements. We must be capable of resolving conflicts without bloodshed.
I don’t know how to reconcile the peaceful rainbow of flags we see each night at our concerts with the daily news of a dozen global conflicts and their horrific consequences. I don’t know how to
process the feeling of guilt and complicity when I hear about the deaths of a civilian family from a U.S. drone strike. But I know that we can’t let the sadness turn into apathy. And I do know we are better off when we reach out to each other.
In conclusion, Vedder quotes Lennon again, writing, “‘I hope someday you’ll join us…’” and beseeching fans, “Won’t you listen to what the man said.” As with all things political, Vedder’s note is bound to spark its share of arguments, but it’s hard to argue against the humane sentiment of his words here — or his contention that most of us draw far more sustenance and meaning from our personal relationships than our ideologies.